I quietly touched the necklace that hung on my neck.
Then, I stole a glance at the second prince, who was looking pale and standing absentmindedly.
I have to call Zen.
Now that I had entered the forest, my safety was the priority.
Whether later we would strike the prince’s head and erase his memory, or brainwashed him with magic, it was dangerous to stay here.
“Your Highness, for now-”
“I will stay here, Young Lady.”
The second prince spoke with a calm voice.
His face was still pale like a white paper, but the shaking in his voice had already stopped.
In the surrendering eyes, I couldn’t find any liveliness.
“If I were destined to live, then I will live.
If I were destined to die, then I would surely meet a beast or maybe a monster.”
As I looked at the ‘fake precocious’ prince, who suddenly became a fatalist, then walked away pretending to not hear him, he added.
“Even if I returned to the palace, there’s no way for me to keep my life for a long time.”
The second prince looked down and mumbled.
“After all, the period of stay given to me will soon end.”
Instead of asking about his unfathomable words, I pointed at his feet and warned him.
“Be careful with your steps.
There could be viper around.”
The boy was shocked, then he checked under his feet and looked around.
After subconsciously responding to the viper word, the expression on his face that he raised up back was sheepish.
Instead of persuading him, who fell into fatalism, I gave an offer.
“I don’t know about your situation, prince.
However, I am confident that our survival probability will go higher if we cooperate.”
He shut his mouth then stared at me.
“I want to live.”
“That’s why, please think that you’re cooperating for the sake of my survival.”
If he really didn’t need his life to the point of willing to be left here, then wasn’t it fine for him to become a bait when we were chased by the monsters or beasts.
Faint steps of horses were heard from a far.
Did this mean there were people who wandered around, or maybe people who entered the forest to hunt
Anyway, there was a probability that people who went to hunt were returning early.
The moment I was about to walk to the direction of the sound, I felt like a sensation that was not alien to me bothered my ears.
Suddenly, I felt my head numb and I was a bit breathless.
My heart sank at the headache.
I sensed strength left from the hand of the other party who was holding hands with me.
The prince’s body collapsed silently.
I lowered my head and put my ear on the chest of the fainted prince.
There was no movement, as if he had died, but fortunately, I could feel his beating heart even if that was weak.
I adjusted his clothes so that his temperature wouldn’t go down.
The pendant that was wet because of the humidity hit my neck and made me flinch at its cool temperature.
I couldn’t know the reason for his sudden faint, but I thought this might be better.
I quickly swung the pendant and called my friend.
Since I rarely called him, it meant that I really needed him when I looked for him.
Usually, he would already show up in a few seconds only.
However, today was different.
This was new.
Even if I swung it a few more times again, there was no answer from Zen.
Little sparks, which had been flicking a few times, soon faded into the necklace.
A problem within the forest Or maybe a personal problem
No matter which one it was, it wasn’t good news for me.
The sounds of my beating heart rang up to my ears.
As I closed my eyes, I could feel that my breathing was shaking.
I knew that I should stay calm, but nothing came to my emptied head.
It was chilly on my back.
Only after knowing that the most reliable person couldn’t come to my side, finally the sense of crisis crept in.
I gripped the pendant to the point of the hand that was holding it lost its color.
I heard a horse’s footsteps from afar.
I, who was paying attention while holding the pendant, carefully hid—crouching my body near where the prince was laying down, instead of following the horse’s hoof and asking for help.
It’s not the search party.
My instinct was telling me so.
If it was a search for help, then it would have been more careful and slower than this, moving in a circle as if besieging.
The constant hoof sound meant that they were going straight toward the target point.
It’s also hard to assume them as people who came to hunt.
They were noisy enough to be said to be looking for prey.
I heard the sound of something heavy being put down.
I quietly held my breath and paid attention.
I was very nervous if they were to find us here.
It was fortunate that the grass around us was strong and tough, and was able to cover our smell.
The hoof sound slowly began to drift apart again.
Someone left something, and disappeared.
I know it.
There was no doubt they had another goal.
What was it if it wasn’t for hunting or searching
In the first place, who could enter this forest whose entrance was restricted.
The questions kept going on.
I just need a moment.”
I put down the prince’s hand that I was holding, and after moving a few steps away, a heavy-looking sack entered my sight.
There was no doubt it was the thing left by the owner of the fading hoof sounds.
I reached out to check on the sack and quickly loosened up its tie.